It’s all happening in France……………..

I am writing this on the ferry returning from a trip to Brittany and full of inspiration for the coming year.

St Malo is overflowing with ocean racing yachts in the final countdown to the Route du Rhum single handed trans-atlantic race, which departs on Sunday 31st October.

The sight is amazing with the inner docks crammed full of Open 60’s class 40’s HUGE trimarans, with the latest in modern technology and designed, nestled comfortably under the ancient walls of St Malo.

I have been helping with the preparations for friend and competitor in the race, Marco Nannini. It has not been a tough job, and the days work yesterday involved taking his class 40 UniCredit out for a blast with his preparateaur and classe mini veteran Paul Peggs while a helicopter buzzed overhead taking photographs.

I must admit to feeling more than a twinge of jealousy looking at the whole experience from the outside.

On returning to the dock we had to wait for the tide and ended up moored outside the harbour with a growing number of awesome race boats and skippers as they arrived in time for scrutineering and the race preparations.

The race organisers squeezed as many as possible into a packed lock and it was almost too much to take in – boat heaven – including the two latest open 60’s and Foncia with Michel Desjoyeaux himself (arguably the world’s greatest solo sailor). The lock sides became crowded very soon with passers by taking pictures and gauping at the spectacle; and this is the atmosphere with over a week to go.

Earlier in the week I took a trip to Douardenez, Port Le Foret and Lorient to have a look at some of the mini’s there and get some ideas how to set up my little potting Shed.  It was great to see so many of the boats all together and I now have a massive job list to start on when I get back to Warsash.

While in Lorient we were lucky enough to clap eyes on the mighty Banque Populaire returning from a training session. What a weapon.

They are on standby from the beginning of November for a Jules Verne attempt (fastest sailing boat around the world fully crewed) the record is 48 days. Good luck to them.

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